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The below article provides you with the main points of history about the FIFA World Cup™ and gives you some detail into each point. If you are looking for either the winners of past soccer World Cups or famous players please access the dedicated sections for these.

1st March 1921: Jules Rimet takes presidency of World Football Federation

One of a group of visionary Frenchmen, then 48-year old Jules Rimet took on the presidency of the World Football Federation and along with his fellow football administrators was to change the course of football history. Being the third president of the Federation, Rimet made it his life-task working for FIFA, and he went on to serve as president for 33 years. When he took over in 1921 there were just 20 members, and when he left in 1954 there were 85 members – excellent evidence of the amount of work he put in.

One of his first ideas however was the organisation of an international event between countries, and one that was without discrimination of professional or amateur footballing status. His work ethic throughout was represented by his now famous words “soccer could reinforce the ideals of a permanent and real peace”, in a time when World War was either ongoing or a not too distant possibility.

Jules Rimet

26th May 1928: The First World Cup is announced

During the 3 to 4 years preceding this date, Rimet and 5 other officials had been meticulously planning the first soccer World Cup event, and through many World Football Federation meetings had laid down all the rules and regulations for the event.

On the 26th of May 1928 in Barcelona it was announced that the first World Cup was to be held in Uruguay with the hosts competing along with 5 other European countries. Uruguay had been chosen as hosts due to their excellent record in the Olympic Football competition (winning it in 1924 and 1928). The original planned kick-off date was the 18th May 1929; however the actual World Cup didn’t get underway until over a year later.

13th July 1930: Kick-off for first World Cup (Uruguay)

The Pocitos Stadium, Uruguay was where the first ever match of a FIFA World Cup™ took place, with France beating Mexico 4-1. In the end, only 4 European teams competed (France, Belgium, Yugoslavia and Romania), however 7 South American teams opted to join in, these being the hosts Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru. The two other teams involved were Mexico and the USA. As you can see the plans had changed quite dramatically from the event that had been planned for a year previously.

Victory in the first ever soccer World Cup went to the hosts and reigning Olympic champions Uruguay, with them beating Argentina 4-2 in the final. They were awarded with a new trophy, bearing the name of the competition’s founder, Jules Rimet. It was 35cm high and made of sterling silver, gold-plated in places, with gold plates on its base in which to engrave the names of the winners.

The Jules Rimet Trophy

1938 – 1950: No Soccer World Cups held due to World War II

After the first ever World Cup in 1930, it was contested twice more in that decade, both in Italy 1934 and France 1938. The competition held in Rimet’s homeland of France was to be the last however for a staggering twelve years, as World War 2 broke out.

During this time a Dr. Ottorino Barassi, the then Italian Vice-President of FIFA, hid the Jules Rimet trophy under his bed in a shoebox to stop it from falling into the hands of the occupying troops.

The competition finally re-started with a tournament held in Brazil in 1950.

1966: The Jules Rimet Trophy stolen in England!

Whilst on display in the build-up to the 1966 World Cup to be held in England, the now world famous trophy went missing. Thankfully though it was recovered in quite an unusual way – a dog called Pickles found it buried under a tree. The cup was returned to FIFA and later that year awarded to England as the winning hosts of the 1966 tournament.

1970: Jules Rimet Trophy awarded permanently to Brazil

After winning the FIFA World Cup™ a record three times (1958, 1962, and 1970) the now 42-year old Jules Rimet Trophy was permanently awarded to Brazil as per the initial regulations set out by Rimet all those years ago. After their tremendous footballing efforts and achievements over the years, it became the deserved property of the Brazilian Football Association.

1974: FIFA Commission new World Cup Trophy, by Italian artist

For the tenth soccer World Cup (the tenth occurance of any event is always a worthy point in history), to be held in Germany in 1974, FIFA commissioned a new trophy to replace the old Jules Rimet Trophy. After 53 different designs were submitted from experts in 7 countries, FIFA chose the design of an Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga. This particular design featured spiralling lines spreading out from the base reaching up to receive the World globe at the top, with two athletes in the moment of victory featuring on the sides of the trophy.

The new trophy is made of solid 18-carot gold and despite being only 36cm high, weighs a whopping 4.9kg. It cannot be won outright as Brazil did with the Jules Rimet Trophy however, as the regulations now state that it shall remain FIFA’s property no matter who wins it. The current system allows the winners of the competition to retain it for 4 years until the next tournament comes around, and then they are awarded a gold-plated (not solid) replica trophy.

There is enough space on the base of the new trophy to engrave the names of the competition’s winners all the way up till 2038.

1983: Original Jules Rimet Trophy stolen in Rio de Janeiro

Thirteen years after the original World Cup Trophy had been awarded to the Brazilian Football Association; it was stolen for a second time. Unfortunately there was no lucky dog around to recover it this time though, and it was reported that the thieves had melted it down and got away with the crime. This was a sad day in the history of the sport. A replica trophy was ordered to replace it and this is now the one that remains in the hands of the Brazilian Football Association.

1996: First-ever competition to be held outside of Europe or the Americas announced

Cafu lifting the new trophy for Brazil

Since 1930 and the first ever soccer World Cup in Uruguay, the competition had never been held outside of Europe or the Americas. However in 1996, FIFA took the decision to award the 2002 World Cup to joint-hosts South Korea and Japan. This has seen a change in policy now as the competition is moved around each member continent, with South Africa awarded the 2010 World Cup not so long ago.

1998: Popularity of the competition reaches epic proportions

Ever since Jules Rimet laid the ground for the first soccer World Cup, it has grown and grown in popularity all over the world. It is FIFA’s flagship event, and is on a par with or perhaps even bigger than the Summer Olympic Games now. The 1998 competition held in France saw worldwide audiences of approximately 37 billion people, with 2.7 million people passing through the turnstiles in the French stadia.

This History of Soccer World Cups article has all been re-written and re-organised by us here at NFF: 2006 Cup World (NoFrillsFootball.com), we hope it was useful for you!

Sources:
Articles from the Official FIFA World Cup website;
Articles from World-Cup-Info.com
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